Unlike alcohol, which slows your heart rate, marijuana speeds it up, which could negatively affect the heart in the short term. Still, the largest-ever report on cannabis from the National Academies of Sciences, released in January, found insufficient evidence to support or refute the idea that cannabis may increase the overall risk of a heart attack. Marijuana is one of – if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death.

These symptoms can be even more intense if the Marijuana is consumed as an edible. When Marijuana is baked into or added to food and then eaten, it takes time for the food to digest and for the user to start experiencing effects. This delayed onset may cause the user to consume more than intended, creating a longer, more intense high. In extreme cases of consuming edibles, people have experienced hallucinations, delusions, and other psychotic reactions. Using Marijuana before drinking alcohol may make it difficult to gauge how intoxicated the user is from alcohol, potentially leading to dangerous situations like driving under the influence. Consequently, experimental studies have shown that functional impairment lags behind THC blood level .79 This makes it much harder to generate blood level versus impairment curves for marijuana than it is for alcohol.

In 2014, 30,722 people died from alcohol-induced causes in the US — and that does not count drinking-related accidents or homicides. If those deaths were included, the number would be closer to 90,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The review looked at published data from nearly 600 studies that comprised data on 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2016. The results showed that among people of all ages, alcohol was the seventh leading risk factor for deaths in 2016. Violent assaults, in particular, are often fueled by alcohol. In contrast, Carroll says research shows rates of interpersonal or domestic violence are actually “lower in people who smoke marijuana than people that don’t.”

whats worse weed or alchol

In 2019, more than 14 million adults in the U.S. met the criteria for alcohol use disorder, otherwise known as alcoholism. In comparison, about four million had marijuana use disorder in 2015. However, the language around weed and addiction is fuzzy, and not all of those with marijuana use disorder have an addiction.

“It’s hard to argue from data or from actual science that that’s the way it should be,” he said. We can all agree that both alcohol and marijuana have their risks. The overall take-home message may be that if you are about to drive a car, if you are an adolescent, or if you are pregnant, you probably should not use either one.

Take control of your life

Marijuana and alcohol have long been portrayed as relatively similar vices with a variety ofrisks and a few benefits. It is time to wipe the slate clean and take a closer look at the facts about marijuana. We are not here to tell you that it is entirely without harms — what product is? We simply hope you will come to understand that it is far, far less harmful than what your government has told you. “On the other hand, the number of crimes that are committed that have some sort of alcohol component related to them are massive — hundreds of thousands a year, if not more,” he said. “After going through all the data and looking at which is more dangerous in almost any metric you would pick, pot really looks like it’s safer than alcohol,” he said.

  • Plus, there’s the issue of varying methods of consumption.
  • Carroll thinks that’s an accident of history — because it’s been around and legal for a longer period of time.
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time can lead to alcohol poisoning, where critical parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and temperature can shut down, leading to death.
  • Both drugs negatively impact your memory, but in different ways.

Alcohol kills 88,000 people each year, and marijuana kills near zero, according to the American Addiction Centers. To get a lethal dose of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, you would need to smoke between 238 and 1,113 joints in one day. If you’re worried about your physical health, your best bet based on the information available is to opt for moderate weed use over moderate alcohol use — with a preference towards edible marijuana. One clear physical effect of heavy weed use is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.

Variety of products

The most severe long-term effects are seen in heavy, chronic, or binge users who begin using in their teens. For marijuana, some research initially suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, but that has been debunked. The January report found that cannabis was not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head eco sober house and neck cancers tied to smoking cigarettes. Public health researchers have said studying rates of injuries, accidents, mental illness and teen use in the wake of the new laws will lead to a better understanding of marijuana’s public health effects. Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems.

whats worse weed or alchol

An often-quoted, although hotly debated, study in the Lancet ranked many drugs according to their harm score, both to users and to others. One could make a case, though, that heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine would be worse if they were legal and more commonly used. But it’s hard to see how pot could overtake alcohol even if it were universally legal. Use of marijuana is not rare, even now when it’s widely illegal to buy and use. It’s estimated that almost half of Americans age 18 to 20 have tried it at some point in their lives; more than a third of them have used it in the last year.

Over 85% of American adults say they’ve consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, and nearly 70% say they’ve had a drink in the past year, as reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Compare that to just 18% of Americans eco sober house boston who said they used marijuana in 2019, according to the CDC. Although not as widespread, the harmful effects of marijuana on the brain may be greater. Let’s take a closer look at some of the worst consequences of drinking and marijuana.

Ramaekers JG, Robbe HW, O’Hanlon JF. Marijuana, alcohol and actual driving performance. Jones RT, Stone GC. Psychological studies of marijuana and alcohol in man. Hansteen RW, Miller RD, Lonero L, Reid LD, Jones B. Effects of cannabis and alcohol on automobile driving and psychomotor tracking. Cohen J, Dearnaley EJ, Hansel CE. The risk taken in driving under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol ‘more damaging to brain health than marijuana’

Terhune K. Problems and methods in studying drug crash effects. Simpson HM. Epidemiology of road accidents involving marijuana. Papafotiou K, Carter JD, Stough C. The relationship between performance on the standardised field sobriety tests, driving performance and the level of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in blood. Concentration of drugs in blood of suspected impaired drivers.

“They’ve been able to measure that cannabis intake, in whatever form, can activate these receptors, and they actually end up having some potential negative effects, especially physiologically,” Brandt said. The editorial staff of, an American Addiction Centers resources, is made up of credentialed clinical reviewers with hands-on experience in, or expert knowledge of, addiction treatment. The only drugs that were more commonly used and misused than alcohol were nicotine products, such as tobacco. We help thousands of people change their lives with our treatment programs.

On the other hand, low to moderate drinking – about a glass a day – has been linked with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke when compared to complete abstention. Close to half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once, making it one of the most widely used illegal drugs. Yet research suggests that a relatively small percentage of people become addicted. Alcohol has been proven to have negative effects on the brain through multiple studies over the years. Heavy drinkers may deal with diminished gray matter in the brain along with loss of attention span and memory. Around the same time, she started seeing Kasha, who introduced her to a medical cannabis grower and high-quality product.

whats worse weed or alchol

All things considered, alcohol’s effects seem markedly more extreme — and riskier — than marijuana’s. A visitor smokes a marijuana cigarrette during the Expo Cannabis fair in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. After state regulation of the production and sale of marijuana, Uruguay had its first cannabis expo with stands selling seeds, marijuana growing technology, conferences and cultivation techniques workshops. A woman smokes a marijuana joint during the “Marijuana March”on Ipanema beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 7, 2016. About 1,000 people gathered for the demonstration demanding the legalization of the production and sale of marijuana. A large new study suggested that for people between the ages of 15 and 49 years old worldwide, alcohol was the leading risk factor for death in 2016.

Alcohol appears to be linked more closely with weight gain, despite weed’s tendency to trigger the munchies.

Dussault and Breault’s study also only measured carboxy-THC, so the calculated OR was really for the risk of accidents given marijuana use at all rather than for marijuana use while driving. The control group in Mura’s study was comprised of non-trauma patients at the hospital, rather than drivers who had not crashed, making the odds ratio an incorrect calculation. In addition, non-trauma hospital patients are not representative of the population and arguably may have had a lower rate of marijuana smoking, again distorting the OR.

This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. For example,a 2009 studyfound that teens who used marijuana as well as alcohol suffered significantly less damage to the white matter in their brains. Of course, what is beyond question is that alcohol damages brain cells. For decades, our federal government and supporters of marijuana prohibition have led people to believe that marijuana is so dangerous that it must be kept illegal at all costs. Why is alcohol more socially accepted, despite all the evidence stacking up against it? Carroll thinks that’s an accident of history — because it’s been around and legal for a longer period of time.

At the end of the day, they are both still toxic to the body. I think the biggest thing here is we also have more research on alcohol right now.

It is commonly known that alcohol is addictive, but there is debate over whether Marijuana can be considered addictive. It is possible to develop a dependence on Marijuana, where a person experiences cravings, restlessness, mood and sleep disturbances, and irritability when they don’t use the drug. If alcohol or Marijuana is negatively impacting your life and you seem unable to quit on your own, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider about available treatment options. As 2 of the most commonly used substances, the majority of Americans have used alcohol and Marijuana at some point in their lives.

Marijuana worse for teen brains than alcohol, study finds

We make it easy to find the best treatment centers in the nation. Chewing tobacco, or smokeless tobacco, is also very damaging. Tobacco chewers are even more likely than smokers to get mouth, throat, cheek or stomach cancer – they usually have mouth sores and yellow teeth, too. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use.

More than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. There have been zero documented deaths from marijuana use alone. “Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss,” the researchers wrote in their paper, “and the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero.” Based on the available peer-reviewed scientific research, however, one appears to pose more health risks overall.

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